Gretchen goes to the races
Friday, May 28 2004
I don't know why I took it on, but today I undertook a cowboy electrician gig to install ceiling fans in a "common house" for a small intentional community in Saugerties. I must have forgotten how difficult ceiling fans are to put together and hang, because I'd anticipated that it would only take me two hours. Complicating matters was the fact that these fans would be hung from a sloped ceiling, so I'd gone out and bought extension rods to keep the blades well clear of it. But the rods I'd bought had actually been too long, so I couldn't get much done today.
A replacement motherboard arrived in via UPS for the Catskill Animal Sanctuary computer, which had been damaged by lightning. But when I went to replace it, I found that the case design made this impossible. The machine was a Dell, and (typical of "branded" computers) it had been constructed in a way that made it impossible to replace major components. Interestingly, unlike most Dells, it used a standard ATX power supply. But the case required the motherboard to be mounted on a special plate that slid into the case. The size and shape of this plate made it so that it could receive only special Dell-branded motherboards. What a mess! So I ended up putting together a replacement CAS computer in one of my cases. The only thing about it that had ever been to the sanctuary was the hard drive. Since it was running Windows XP, it (naturally) refused to boot. So I had to reinstall Windows too! While I was dealing with all this nonsense, I reached for my trusty flashlight, manufactured by the Energizer corporation. Typical of a flashlight made by a battery company, it's "off" setting on the switch was a third position located between two different sorts of "on" - meaning it was easy to flip from one kind of on to another when absent-mindedly trying to turn it off. How clever! So many subtle design decisions by corporations that make consumers end up paying them more! I cursed them all aloud.
We had a spontaneous barbecue at our house this evening when the Meat Locker people stopped by with a visitor, a guy named Bruce from Portland, Oregon (he wore both blue jeans and a blue jean jacket - a serious Queer Eye for the Straight Guy no-no). The Meat Locker people don't drink beer, but Bruce evidently does, because he carried a six pack of Yuengling, a bottle of which he began drinking immediately.
Later Gretchen joined their entourage and went down to a big stock car race held in rural Rochester Township, a sociological adventure heavily promoted by Mr. Meat Locker. Meanwhile I stayed home and dealt with issues mentioned in the preceding paragraphs. When she returned, Gretchen told me all ahout what she had just experienced. Despite her biased preconceptions, even she was surprised by the large fractions of the crowd who had one or more of several handicaps: obesity, retardation, or the sort of facial features that result from multi-generational inbreeding. She was also impressed by the sheer diversity of stickers that could be purchased: "Support Our Troops," "For Every Beautiful Woman there's a Man Who Wants her Dead," and the pirated image of Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) pissing on just about everything: Iraq, the French, Ford, Chevy, Toyota, you name it.
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